In-vivo effects of endothelin-1 and ETA receptor blockade on arterial, venous and capillary functions in skeletal muscle

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Results from in vitro studies have indicated that endothelin-1 is a main candidate for endothelium-derived contracting factors. The aim of this in vivo study was to describe in quantitative terms the effects of endothelin-1 (ET-1), and of ETA receptor blockade, on vascular tone (resistance) in large-bore arterial resistance vessels (> 25 microns), small arterioles (< 25 microns) and the veins, as well as on capillary pressure and fluid exchange in cat gastrocnemius muscle. Endothelin-1 (100-1600 ng kg-1 min-1, i.a.) elicited, after an initial transient dilation, a strong dose-dependent constrictor response in all three consecutive vascular sections, yet with a preferential action on the small arterioles and the veins. The vasoconstriction developed very slowly over about 1 h and was also long-lasting after cessation of the infusion. Our main quantitative analysis refers to effects elicited by 20 min long i.a. infusions of ET-1 at a dose of 400 ng kg-1 min-1. At the end of this period, the peptide caused, on average, a three-fold increase in total regional vascular resistance, in turn explained by a 70% increase in large-bore arterial resistance, a 280% increase in arteriolar resistance and a 220% increase in venous resistance. The latter effect was also manifested as a pronounced capacitance response, and as a decrease in the pre- to post-capillary resistance ratio leading regularly to a rise in capillary pressure, net transcapillary fluid filtration and oedema formation which is unusual for a vasoconstrictor. The new specific competitive ETA receptor antagonist FR 139317 was found to be fully effective in vivo, insofar as it abolished the constrictor response to endothelin-1. ETA receptor blockade, or administration of phosphoramidon, an inhibitor of ET-1 production, did not influence the level of basal vascular tone, indicating no significant endogenous release of ET-1 under resting conditions. This contrasts to the established pronounced endogenous release of endothelium-derived nitric oxide. Finally, vascular myogenic regulation was found not to be mediated by ET-1. The results, taken together, suggest a possible role of ET-1 in long-term, rather than short-term, regulation of vascular tone in vivo, perhaps especially during pathophysiological conditions.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Clinical Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Intensive Care
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-283
JournalActa Physiologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Publication categoryResearch